Bamboo as a versatile plant is easily found in Indonesia. This plant is used to make construction, furniture, packaging, craft, and also as a weapon used by the national heroes to fight for independence. The versatility of bamboo is a precious opportunity to develop a sustainable bamboo processing business. One of the promising and sustainable business opportunities is biodegradable and reusable bamboo packaging. Let’s see the benefits of bamboo packaging environmentally and economically!
As the 3rd biggest bamboo exporter in the world, Indonesia has enormous potential to develop a sustainable bamboo industry. Our country has 176 out of 1620 bamboo world species. Usually, this plant grows wild, and only 25.000 out of 1 million hectares are cultivated in the gardens and forests. Although it has enormous potential, land use for bamboo cultivation is still limited. The land is mostly used by villagers only on a small scale. Utilizing this potential, the Indonesian government through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (Indonesian: KLHK) collaborated with the Bambu Lestari Foundation to develop the bamboo industry through the 1000 Desa Bambu program to increase bamboo production.
Besides it has strong economical potential, bamboo also has strong benefits for ecosystem conservation. Bamboo conserves the water and land around it. This plant has dense and widely spread roots to prevent erosion. Moreover, it highly absorbs water to provide lots of groundwater.
The economical and conservational benefits of bamboo have to be utilized well. Improving bamboo cultivation is an important asset in developing sustainable business opportunities such as bamboo eco-friendly packaging. It has a mission to reduce the use of single-use plastic packaging that harms the environment’s sustainability.
A bamboo packaging business innovation comes from Thailand, a country symbolized by elephants. UB Pack is a company that produces food packaging. They create a solution by substituting plastic packaging and styrofoam for biodegradable packaging made from cassava starch and natural bamboo fiber. Bamboo is a reinforcing material for the product.
In the production process, they do not use chemicals such as artificial coloring and bleach to make sure the product will be completely biodegradable in nature and used for compost. The bamboo used is also leftover from the wooden chopsticks production.
This eco-friendly packaging product can decompose in nature in 180 days. The packaging is also heat and cold resistant, therefore, the food and beverage can be heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer. They provide various packagings such as bowls, glass, plates, lunch boxes, and trays.
Bamboo packaging is popular for Indonesian people since the old times. They process bamboo into traditional packaging that is used to package food, present, sow flower, and many more. Contrary to UB Pack which has processed bamboo into packaging on a large industrial scale, Indonesian people still process bamboo traditionally by weaving bamboo which is produced on a Small and Medium Enterprises (Indonesian: Usaha Mikro Kecil Menengah / UMKM) scale.
However, the product produced such as besek (Bamboo woven box), bamboo basket, and wink has excellent durability, so, that they can be used repeatedly, has a unique and interesting model, free of chemical, and are well air circulation. You can buy those packaging easily in the traditional market and on e-commerce. Using bamboo traditional packaging builds our reuse habit in reducing waste.
The variety of bamboo packaging gives consumers more packaging options as containers for wrapping their products for both business and personal use. We have to escalate the potential of bamboo cultivation to support sustainable consumption and production for the sake of economic growth and environmental sustainability inlining.